Monday, June 27, 2011

Virtual Race Report: 2011 Sweat Your Thorns off Virtual 5K (And other stuff)

In addition to the Druid Hills 10K, which I've already gone on at great enough length about, I also ran in a virtual 5K hosted by Adam at The Boring Runner. He organized a real 5K, which took place in AZ, but invited non-locals to run it wherever they were and send in their times, since many parts of the country are starved for races as temperatures become unbearably hot.

Even though Central PA/Maryland is not one (two, I guess) of those places, I thought it would be fun, and decided that I could count my mileage total as 9.3. Since I was running during another race at the same time, I passed on the virtual 5K bib, even though it was more fun than the Druid Hills bib.

I picked the first half of the 10K to count as my 5K. It was allegedly easier (that turned out to be true), and I thought it would be easier to figure out my time. That would have been the case, except Garmin got awful reception on the hilly, heavily forested course and seemed to lose accuracy at about mile two. It told me I finished the 3.1 mile course in 26:27, which is coincidentally the time of my first-ever 5K, but I actually crossed the 3-mile mark of the 10K at just under 28 minutes. So, I'm counting it as a 28:00 -- which would be good for my second-worst 5K ever (not counting the one I tapered). So, you can add Druid Lake to the list of bodies of water that I considered tossing Garmy into.

Looking on the bright side, it just shows the difference in strategy between a 5K and a 10K. I can race a (real) 5K, but the 10K is I'd halfway between my race pace and my long, slow, distance pace. (I consider most of my runs to be long, slow, distance -- or LSD -- runs). Looking on the even brighter side, I could probably say that I was the regional champion. (Adam, if you read this and I'm not the regional champion, just don't tell me.)

In any case, thanks Boring Runner, adding the virtual race made a fun day of racing even more exciting, and made me even madder at GPS technology than I normally am.


In other news, or lack thereof, the next race on the schedule is the Harrisburg Mile (note to self: sign up for the Harrisburg Mile). This is one of my favorite summer racing events, a one mile dash down Front Street along the Susquehanna River. Last year, I annihilated my one-mile PR, the 8:00-minute mile I ran during Presidential Physical Fitness Award testing in high school, with a 6:44.

This year, I wanted to get under 6:00. I've utterly failed at adding speedwork to my routine, however, and it's probably too late. I'll try to squeeze some track work or mile sprints in, but even though I'm overall having my best-ever summer of running, I just lack the discipline to add variety to my running plan. I go out in the morning and run 6-10 miles every other day. Repeat.

Still, I've put a lot of miles in during the last year. I think I've at least got a 6:43 or better in me. If I can bring that in, I'll have PR'd in every distance since my last half-marathon in 2010. If I can't, I won't have another chance to hit for that cycle for awhile, since this is the only one-mile race I run each year and I won't be racing a 13.1 this year. (No big deal, I just thought of this now, anyway.)


After running Druid Hills, I turned spectator for the rest of the weekend. I headed home from Baltimore; and then my wife and I headed back to Baltimore (cat medical logistics and schedule made this make sense). We stopped at Charm City Run, where she picked up her Baltimore Women's Classic packet and I ordered my next pair of shoes; we had a very nice afternoon watching dragon boat racing, organized by our friend and marathon relay teammate Ada, at Tide Point; and had a great dinner at our favorite downtown Baltimore Restaurant, the (bar menu at the) B&O Brassiere. Chris had a great race Sunday morning, shaving 2 minutes off her time from last year, despite a more hilly course this year.


After the awesome weekend, I got back in the routine today with a good, hilly 10 miles through Manchester & Mt. Wolf. Mmm...miles.


  1. That virtual 5k did sound like fun! I wish I would have known about it, but ill just have to keep an eye out for it next year.

    Good luck on getting that PR for the mile though, with as much as you have been running I would think you would have the endurance to push a pretty fast pace for just a mile :)

  2. I feel your pain on trying to calculate a race time during a longer race. I ran a virtual 10k as part of a 10-mile race. It was on a nice, flat, open road and would have been ideal for a garmin...if I had one. I had to use a stopwatch, taking my 6 mile time plus 1/5 of my 7th mile time, barely getting a PR...only to find out later that the mile markers were off and who knows where that 6.2 was.

  3. I've long ago concluded that my (admittedly rather low-end) Garmin is the most inaccurate GPS in the world. (Except for maybe its big brother in my car.) I'm usually tempted to leave it home when I run a 5K, but for longer races where I have less of a feel for my pace and strategy, at least it gives me a rough sense of how fast I'm going ("Ok, no wonder I feel fast today...I can't maintain this for 6 miles and so I probably need to ease up.")

    I lucked out in this one. Mile 3 was one of the miles that was marked, whereas some of the others weren't. (There was also an unscheduled detour taken by some of the runners, so I may have just missed the mile markers, but I think it was just the front of the pack runners who got out before all the course volunteers were in place that were affected).